Some background, courtesy of Kerry Wilkinson:
Back during the Secret Wars, Spider-Man got himself what he thought was a new costume. It turned out to be an alien symbiote that wanted to possess his body. Spidey rejected it, however and it was left holed up in a church tower.
Shortly afterwards, Eddie Brock, a journalist with the Daily Globe lost his job after his Sin-Eater identity story was proved to be fake by Spider-Man. Wanting to end it all, he first went via a church to say his last goodbyes. His hatred of Spider-Man was picked up by the symbiote however and the two bonded to form Venom - a crazed killer who wanted nothing more than to kill Spider-Man.
In their many battles, Spider-Man triumphed consistently - even though his Spider-Sense doesn't pick up on Venom's presence. One time when Brock was in prison, however, the symbiote gave birth to another version of itself. This new symbiote bonded with Cletus Kasady - Brock's psychotic cellmate - and together the two became another crazed killer, Carnage.
When Carnage first escaped, Spidey teamed up with Venom and the Fantastic Four to save the city and re-incarcerate Kasady. Since then, Venom has re-escaped too and, after Spidey helped save Brock's ex-wife, formed an understanding with Spider-Man that he won't cause anymore trouble and that the two of them will stay out of each other's way. Most recently of all, in one of the best Spider-Man books of all - Spectacular 200 - JM DeMatteis scripted the death of Harry Osborn. He had gone crazy as the Green Goblin, wanting to blow up most of the city's leaders. After MJ and little Norman entered the building he was fighting Spider-Man in, however, he came to his senses, even saving Peter from the explosion, before he died in front of them.
|Cover Art:||Alex Saviuk|
|Reprinted In:||Maximum Carnage (TPB)|
Spider-Man has been kicked off a roof into an alley, and a gang of ruffians have arrived to make sure he never leaves. Before they can even touch Spider-Man, however, Cloak and Dagger arrive to protect the web-slinger. After quickly dispatching the ruffians, the pair teleport themselves and Spider-Man to the Holy Ghost Church. Meanwhile, the Doppelganger has dropped Shriek onto a building and is going back to kill Spider-Man. Carnage has just finished his business at the Daily Bugle, and is off to meet his compatriots at a rendezvous point. Jameson, recently left alive by Carnage, tells Robbie of the scoop he's just been handed.
At the Holy Ghost Church, Cloak and Dagger tend to Spider-Man's injuries. Shortly after they finish, the Doppelganger crashes through a window and attacks the trio. Before he can do any real damage, though, Shriek arrives and brings part of the church down upon the three heroes, or so she believes. Moments later, Spider-Man, Cloak, and Dagger swing in. Shriek reveals that she has become what she is due to Cloak and Dagger, and decides to let the Doppelganger take care of Spider-Man. Before anyone can make any real head-way in the battle, Carnage arrives.
The tide of battle quickly turns in favor of the three villains, and ends when Dagger is killed by Shriek. As the villains make a retreat, they are watched by a sinister figure. In San Francisco, two thugs are quickly dispatched by Venom, who sees on a television that Carnage is loose in New York, and declares that the Big Apple needs him now.
This issue was simply a battle royal between the good guys and the bad guys. The battle seemed to be a forced stalemate, however, and the only explanation for Spider-Man's lack of expertise is the damage to his ribcage he received when he was kicked off the roof in "Spider-Man Unlimited #1". Several of the characters said some out of character things, such as Shriek shouting "Fool!" at someone and Carange telling the Doppelganger, "Come, beast!" Not to mention the shadowy figure (Demogoblin) declaring that the villains are his kind of people. Also, at what point did Shriek obtain the ability to travel using her sonic blasts?
The art was good, however, though it would seem that the artist didn't know how to draw Shriek and decided to experiment within the story.
As a battle royal between Spider-Man and four second-stringers, the issue gets a 3. The out of character detracts half a web, as does the in continuity that is Shriek. The art, while good, is not enough to escalate this book above a two.